Report: O.G. Anunoby wants bigger role with Raptors ahead of extension talks

Mike Battaglino
4 Min Read
Nell Redmond-USA TODAY Sports

O.G. Anunoby reportedly is looking for more responsibility in the Toronto Raptors offense, and if he doesn’t get it, he could be looking to finally move on from his only NBA team.

The 25-year-old seems worthy of an increased role based on his play through his first six NBA seasons, and he has averaged around 16 points and five rebounds per game over the past three seasons.

“Maybe [Fred] VanVleet’s exit will help create more on-ball opportunities for O.G. Anunoby, who changed agencies from Klutch Sports to CAA amid ongoing questions about his role in Toronto,” wrote Jake Fischer of Yahoo! Sports. “Anunoby told representatives during meetings with prospective agents, according to people familiar with the situation, that he was searching for greater ball-handling and playmaking duties in advance of his upcoming contract talks. Without that chance in the Raptors’ offense under new head Darko Rajaković, there remains the ongoing possibility that Anunoby could request a trade from the franchise during what’s now the third season of a four-year, $72 million contract — which Anunoby relayed to potential agents he deemed was below his market value, but does include a player option before the 2024-25 season.”

It is that on-court performance with a seeming desire to maybe play elsewhere that has made Anunoby a hot topic during this offseason. The Sacramento Kings were recently reported to be “on the chase” for the forward, and in the past, teams like the Memphis Grizzlies and New York Knicks reportedly expressed interest in trading for him.

Some people around the NBA reportedly expected Toronto to run it back with their core players. But after losing VanVleet to the Houston Rockets as a free agent and new head coach Rajakovic replacing Nick Nurse, the Raptors are in full transition mode.

It is believed that they plan to build around youngster Scottie Barnes while making any of their other players, including Anunoby and Pascal Siakam, available in the right deal.

Anunoby is also considered an excellent defensive player and was named to the All-Defensive Second Team last season, when he led the NBA in steals. Perhaps his importance on that end of the floor is a reason he hasn’t been asked to do more on the offensive end. But if he wants to increase the value of his next contract, boosting his offensive statistics and profile will only help.

VanVleet reportedly agreed on a three-year, $130 million contract with the Rockets. Interestingly, he is represented by Klutch Sports, the agency Anunoby dropped.

Toronto lost in the play-in round last season and has won one playoff series since capturing the NBA championship in 2019, Anunoby’s second NBA season. Getting another chance to stand out in the playoffs would be another way for him to increase his value.

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Mike is a veteran journalist who has focused on New York sports. He has covered the NBA and NFL for almost three decades and is still waiting for the next championship for the Knicks and Jets.